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Kalmadi Sacrificed

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Suresh Kalmadi appears for questioning on April 25, 2011

Suresh Kalmadi appears for questioning on April 25, 2011

The Delhi Commonwealth Games was a rotten scam. The news emanating from the stench seemed to indicate that every official and political appointee associated with it was busy making money: as much as the whole world’s cocaine racket, or the combined education and health budget for that year. The amount embezzled was roughly the same as the total amount spent on the Beijing Olympics. Now finally the axe has fallen on a single person: Suresh Kalmadi.

After several rounds of quizzing over the past few months, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday arrested the then Chairman of the Organising Committee (OC) of the Commonwealth Games 2010, Suresh Kalmadi, for an alleged conspiracy in awarding a contract for the Games to a Swiss company at an inflated cost of Rs. 141 crore.

Mr. Kalmadi, Congress MP from Pune, was put under arrest after he was grilled at the CBI headquarters from the morning till past noon. CBI officials had questioned him earlier on three occasions in connection with the alleged irregularities in the award of the contract for the Timing-Scoring and Result (TSR) system to Swiss Timekeeping.

“It is alleged that officials of the Organising Committee had conspired with representatives of the private firm in Switzerland and the contract for timing, scoring, result was awarded by wrongfully restricting and eliminating competition from other suppliers in a pre-meditated and planned manner. Investigation has revealed that the committee for shortlisting prospective bidders for TSR was constituted by selecting handpicked officials,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said in a statement.

“Investigation has also revealed that members of the tenders evaluation committee were coerced and threatened to disqualify other bidders… that Indian representatives of the favoured supplier were in regular contact with the three arrested Organising Committee officials much before the award of tender. A wrongful loss of approximately Rs. 95 crores was caused to the public exchequer,” the statement said.

OC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot and director-general V.K. Verma have already been arrested by the CBI in this case and are lodged in Delhi’s Central Jail, Tihar.

The CBI has so far registered eight cases, of which three are related to restoration work at two sporting venues, and two to Queen Baton’s relay, while one each is related to overlays, contract given to Swiss Time Keeping, and a contract given to SIS live for coverage of the Games.

It is a good thing that investigations have proceeded to the point that one of the linchpins of corruption has been arrested; one can only hope that he is finally prosecuted. As you can see from this news story, Suresh Kalmadi is now the sacrificial lamb. He and his advisers are under arrest. The cases registered may well be selective. Perhaps it is beyond our hopes that the embezzled money will be returned.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

April 26, 2011 at 3:21 am

One Response

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  1. […] the spending of public money. However the procedures are put into place precisely because there is gross mismanagement in spite of oversight. This is the reason behind Anna Hazare’s campaign, and also the reason why many arms of the […]

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